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Rafael Nadal fends off Alexander Zverev to secure Italian Open title

• Spaniard secures eighth title in Rome 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
• Zverev fails to beat Nadal for fifth time

A year after Alexander Zverev announced his arrival in the big time by crushing Novak Djokovic to win the Italian Open, the young German held his own but not his crown as Rafael Nadal outlasted him to win his eighth title on the Campo Centrale, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes with two rain breaks.

When it was put to him that the rain was not his friend Zverev smiled and nodded. “No, it’s not. But it happens. Nothing you can do about it. He came out way faster, played way more aggressive than I did. It took me a long time to get activated again. I ran out of time. The break took my momentum away.”

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